King Kong - A Comedy

Theatre, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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Enjoyably knockabout retelling of the story of King Kong, from the team

 This happy, scrappy show – part comic revue, part panto – monkeys around the story of King Kong, never taking itself very seriously: silliness runs through its veins. Running with the style set by writer Daniel Clarkson in his ‘Potted…’ series (‘Potted Potter’, ‘Potted Sherlock’…), it gallops over the story of the 1933 movie, telling how the egomaniac fictional film director Carl Denham (a booming, bombastic Rob Crouch) heads off to shoot a movie on an exotic island with his long-suffering starlet Ann Darrow (Alix Dunmore, nicely puncturing her boss’s chauvinism) and ends up coming back to New York City with a massive ape. You know the rest.

The launch rate for the show’s gags is as high as the energy levels of the five-person cast. The successful landing rate of those same gags? Not so much. The frenzied comedy style is wink-wink and pun-heavy, with a lot of debt to the Zucker Brothers (‘Airplane!’, ‘Top Secret!’) school of comedy. It feels like a show that’s still in development, so it could easily get better, funnier, sharper as time goes on.
There are some nice creative bits in the show involving puppetry, like when they tell the story in the style of the arcade game Donkey Kong – or when two characters are waiting to be sacrificed and only their heads are real; the rest of their bodies are part of the set. There’s a good ‘Titanic’ joke too. Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ booms out and two characters try a Rose-and-Jack moment on the ship’s bow until someone complains: ‘Too soon!’. The whole thing is pleasingly bananas, but it could do with not slipping up on so many of its own jokes.


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